Gang, I am so very sorry this is not updated more often. The fact is I promised my family I would NOT go on the computer so much this is why I am not on Facebook although the Coal Porters are (Please note we try to update our Facebook site frequently with all sorts of cool data AND that you can follow me via Twitter www.twitter.com at SidCPsGriffin for more new news and red-hot gossip!)
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS ON THE BREAK-UP of REM sept 21, 9pm
(consider this a blog…kinda…sorta…)
Ex-Long Ryders drummer Greg Sowders sent me some CDs for my 56th (!) birthday and arriving home after coming off a short tour of the north of England (two sold out shows, two almost sold out, one total disaster) I noticed one was Collapse Into Now by REM. Then I went on-line to get the news and I see REM have split up.
That took me by surprise! Another bit of my younger days gone forever and even my lengthy chatting with Steve Cropper (Stax-Volt hero) and John Steel (the Animals’ drummer) in Manchester airport last Saturday morning is not a strong enough cultural event to overcome my sadness at the REM split. I suppose it was time for them to disband. The last few years were not so great for them in the studio. Now I wished I had seen that last London show at the Royal Albert Hall when Liz Kershaw offered me a ticket. I would have gone but little Noah was not well at all that afternoon and felt I should stay in having seen REM a good six or seven times beforehand.
I remember going to see some ghastly headlining band at the Country Club in the SF Valley in L.A. in 1982 only because Bob Say and Ken Barnes both told tme the opening act was a southern band who sounded like The Byrds. I got there and Pylon were the opening act, REM having pulled outta the tour! So I finally saw them for the first time May 1983 at The Music Machine on Pico but I was a beer guy then and I couldn’t, for love nor money, remember much of the show at all. I can remember what they looked like onstage and I have a mental picture of them rockin’ out physically but I cannot remember how they sounded, what tunes they played or if they did a medley of Small Faces covers or what. But I do know I will miss them and note my shelf has sixteen REM albums on it counting bootlegs.
Media outlets are already, ho ho ho, saying it is the end of the world as we know it but…well, I don’t feel fine. More than a bit sad.
There is a fine if brief interview with Sid at villagegreenmachine.com
Mr. Griffin displays many chapeaux in his career as a multi-faceted musician, proud author, knowledgeable broadcaster and professional golfer. Okay, only the first three hats get anywhere near his noggin’ but they all fit snugly and look quite smart. He is also a proud parent whose weekly column on the 2008 USA Presidential election race was once read throughout Southeast Asia, and a guy who makes excellent cheese mushroom omelettes.
Here are links to all the latest news and updates from his many and varied exploits;
The Coal Porters
The Coal Porters are the world’s first “alt-bluegrass” act and the UK’s most entertaining bluegrass ensemble, one firmly established on the European touring circuits. They are performing USA dates in March 2010 including the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. The Coal Porters live show is polished yet passionate and second to none, having earned them the monicker “the bluegrass Clash”. Check the Coal Porters out if you dig quick pickin’, warm harmony vocals, contemporary themed original songs and the wittiest stage announcements this side of The Comedy Store.
The Long Ryders are/were: Sid Griffin guitar, harmonica, autoharp, therapy & vocals, Greg Sowders drums, percussion & song publishing, Tom Stevens bass, acoustic bass, computer genius & vocals and Stephen McCarthy main guitar, banjo, mandolin, lap steel & vocals.
The Long Ryders were formed Thanksgiving 1982 in west Los Angeles, California. Kentucky born guitarist Sid Griffin left his sixties punk band The Unclaimed after having bonded musically with former Boxboys drummer Greg Sowders at a jam session in the notorious ON Klub in Silverlake. The other guitar player was Steve Wynn but he left to form the Dream Syndicate whereupon Virginia’s Stephen McCarthy, a country music lover new to L.A., stepped in after answering a “Musician’s Wanted” ad in a local Korean free newspaper.
“A deft synthesis of psychedelia, folk, pop, country and trip hop; pedal steel and banjo mate blithely with samples and audio cut-ups…fresh and ultimately a little dizzying…not unlike several different radio stations broadcasting harmoniously at the same time. This is Sid Griffin’s best, most assured, most experimental and most ambitious work.” Billboard (USA)
Sid Griffin Solo
Frequently referred to by BBC Radio One as “a rock’n’roll Renaissance man” and by Ireland’s Hot Press as “The Great Enthusiast” Sid Griffin, though born in Kentucky USA, now lives in London where he is ringleader of both the Coal Porters, the UK’s leading exponents of Alt-bluegrass as well as Western Electric, alt-country heroes and the creaters of Country & Eastern.
In addition to those chores Sid Griffin records and performs as a solo acoustic act, touring worldwide as well as gaining a whole new profile as a record producer of note. (Pun intended.) He is an author, whose forth and latest book, Shelter From The Storm – Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Years is publised in spring 2010.
The Gram Parsons Connection
Sid is an acknowledged expert on the career of Gram Parsons, having written a book on GP as well as sleevenotes for several compilations of Gram’s music, and his band Coal Porters have recorded many of Gram’s songs (witness their 1999 CD The Gram Parsons Tribute Concert).